What is better: change money before vacation/travel at home or in the holiday country? How do you find the best currency exchange rate? Here are the best tips!
How to get the best exchange rate:
Before traveling you should first check the current exchange rate for the currency in the destination country. Sites like xe.com give an overview and orientation for money swapping locally. Please note: Exchange rates change daily.
Strong currencies, such as the Norwegian krone or the Swiss franc, should be changed at home to get the best price. Weak currencies, eg Eastern Europeans, are best exchanged locally at the destination.
Where to change money? Exchange offices, banks, etc
When changing money at home in Germany or travel destination, no matter if at bureaux de change or banks, you always pay fees. Sometimes more sometimes less. Even if moneychangers advertise that they do not require it, the fees are then hidden in the exchange rate.
Switching money to foreign banks can be complicated. Depending on the country, time-consuming paperwork and often poorer exchange rates make money exchange unattractive there. Better are (reputable) exchange offices.
Overview boards in exchange offices and banks show the current buying and selling prices (buy-sell). Whether a commission is required must usually be inquired. So if you want to exchange euros for the local currency abroad, look for the buying price. If you want to exchange the foreign currency back into euros, then the selling price counts.
Switching money on the street is usually not a good idea. It may work well, but it does not have to. Professional scammers are always smarter than a tourist who has just arrived and does not know the local currency. Only in some countries, such as Venezuela or Argentina with capital controls, is the black market rate significantly better than the official exchange rate. It is illegal to change, but it does not stop many from getting more than 100% more for their money.
Draw money at the ATM
You always get the best exchange rate when traveling by withdrawing money from the local ATM. The exchange rates are based on the interbank rate and contain only minimal fees. Especially accounts with free foreign withdrawals are recommended for this purpose.
ATMs can be found almost everywhere in the world, such as airports, train stations, shopping malls and, more generally, cities and larger towns.
Not all credit cards are compatible with all ATMs. Most frequently found are machines in the visa network or Mastercard. Those who want to play it safe take a Visa card and one from MasterCard. A cash reserve for the first days completes this equipment as a backup.
With credit cards, many products and services can be paid abroad. Credit card fees make this option more expensive than paying with cash.
What to do with too much exchanged foreign exchange?
If foreign money is left over at the end of the journey, the return exchange makes sense only for a certain amount, for small amounts, fees and commission make the change unattractive.
It is, therefore, best to spend the rest of the money on the spot. The imagination knows no limits. A nice dinner, shopping to take home, snacks for the flight…
And the rest? As a tip in the restaurant or as a donation to the local homeless people, you will lose even small coins.
This content is sponsored by Mark Valley.